Who were the Druids at Stonehenge? An account by Publius Cornelius Tacitus who portrayed the Druids as a sinister society, dedicated superstitions and barbarous rites. Diodorus Siculus wrote of Druid rituals in which the priests kill a man by a knife-stab they foretell the future by the convulsions of limbs. tacitus druids
Who were the Druids at Stonehenge? Druids were thought to be native Englishmen and were the leading priestly class of Celts that swept westward from the continent populating Britain as far back as 2000 B.C. What is known about them and the Celts in general is revealed in the writings of their Greek and Roman equals as the priests seem to have no use for a written language in a way fearing it might expose their special learning to others.
The Druid connection to Stonehenge was controversial because of the alleged [ sacrifices ] that occurred during their religious ceremonies. It amazed many that such obnoxious practices could have produced such an awe-inspiring work. Classical storytellers represent the Druids as a sinister society, dedicated to inhuman superstitions and barbarous rites as told by the Roman historian [ Publius Cornelius Tacitus ].
Writing comprehensively on the Druids in his Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar asserted that they presented human sacrifices to their gods by making huge [ wicker cages ] in the human form and filled them with living men then set it on fire.
Diodorus Siculus, Caesar's contemporary, mirrored a similar view and wrote of Druid rituals in which the priests "kill a man by a knife-stab in the region above his midriff, and after his fall they foretell the future by the convulsions of his limbs and the pouring of his blood."
Further, Tacitus reported on the victorious Britons, "This inhuman people were accustomed to shed the Blood of their Prisoners on their Altars, and consult the Gods over the reeking Bowels of Men."
Inigo Jones, labelling peoples who were unable to build Stonehenge, also putdown the Celtic priests by declaring: "Concerning the Druids, certainly Stoneheng could not be builded by them, in regard, l find no mention, they were at any time either studious in architecture ... or skilful in anything else conducing thereunto."
Jones accepted that the Druids may have been philosophers and astronomers, as mentioned by Julius Caesar, but those traditions were "consisting more in contemplation than practice," and he considered they were not "proper to inform the judgement of an Architect.... In a word, therefore let it suffice, Stoneheng was no work of the Druids."
Forceful as the arguments were, it did not dissuade a fellow of the Royal Society, John Aubrey who specialized in biography, folklore and antiquarian studies.